Friday, August 5, 2016

Gods of Egypt

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Desecrating their ruins, parading their corpses for show to the unwashed masses and now this film.  Man, how many other ways are we going to piss on the memories of the Egyptians?

Gods of Egypt – 1 out of 5

I can’t say that I walked into Gods of Egypt with high hopes.  Aside from the Great White Elephant issue that this film had, the trailers didn’t sell me.  The whole thing just looked so goddamn ridiculous and silly that I couldn’t even take it seriously in trailer form.  However, just recently I sat down to watch it and did my best to toss aside any preconceived notions the trailer, the other reviews and the response this feature had towards its casting decisions and gave it a shot…and a shot might have been even more than it deserved.

Behold!  One of the only characters who actually looks like he could have
been in ancient Egypt.

I wasn't bullshitting about the flat earth stuff.
This just became a favorite movie for some dumb-
dumbs on Twitter who don't understand science.
In an alternate reality with a flat Earth (I’m not kidding on that part and I know I just made some screwballs very happy with that revelation), the Gods of Egypt live among the common folk—only they are taller and bleed gold (yeah, I’m not making that up either).  The currently ruler; Osiris (Bryan Brown), is set to hand over the thrown to his son Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) but the ceremony is interrupted by Osiris’ jealous brother Set (Gerard Butler).  Set tears out Horus’ eyes and decides to rule man with an iron fist.  Now a love-struck and troublesome thief with little faith in the Gods named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) will team up with Horus and the god of love Hathor (Elodie Yung) in order to stop Set from bringing destruction and death to all of creation and to save his love Zaya (Courtney Eaton) from the underworld.

Egyptian gods have the same decorating sense as your tacky aunt who
lives in Las Vegas.

Hmmm.  With skin that prone to sunburn, you'd think
the Egyptian gods would relocate to a more overcast England or something.
Gods of Egypt caused quite a stir due to it being another example of Hollywood whitewashing and denying traditionally African roles to African-Americans.  Instead of elevating new talent that would add to the diversity of the industry, the film company and producers went with some white dudes with name recognition (in most cases) and basically pulled a John Wayne in The Conqueror and Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s—but, thankfully, stopping short of being blatantly racist and having Coster-Waldau and Butler perform in blackface.  I find it annoying that Hollywood has this desire to constantly whitewash films because they think that not having white leads will lead to a bad box office take-in but, in all honesty, this is only the beginning of the problems this film contains.

Well, it seems Wonderbra technology was at its peak in this time period.

Wow.  That in no way looks phony and the illusion that
the computer generated monster is holding him
is all-encompassing.
To boil it down to the simplest of bite-sized reviews, Gods of Egypt is awkward.  If a story and its presentation are good enough, I could probably forgive the obvious example of systemic racism a product like this is showcasing but this film does not present anything remotely palpable.  Everything about this movie feels rushed, underdeveloped or like it is on a horribly tight budget.  The special effects are, for the most part, just atrocious and there are too many times where the entire scene is so painfully obviously composited and green screened.  The action scenes are clunky and are the equivalent of Elaine’s dance from Seinfeld (without the added benefit of it being amusing)—a majority of this is due to the atrocious special effects and nauseating camera work.  Finally, the props in this film just look fake.  When this film isn’t looking gaudy as all hell with all the gold that litters the film, the props used by the actors do not look real at all and resemble cheap plastic toys.  The all-powerful spear from Ra (played by the very un-Egyptian looking Geoffrey Rush) is comically oversized and looks like a toy you’d find at Wal-Mart and I am nearly 100% positive that I saw the plastic seam line that is created from a plastic mold on a jug of water being used by Hathor.

Seriously, those drinking utensils look stupidly fake.

Matters aren’t helped with the other factors of the film either.  The story does nothing to develop the characters beyond a typical hero’s adventure arc, the hero Bek is very bland and uninteresting and the dialogue is constantly trying to insert comedy into the whole ordeal but it is just more cringe-worth than chuckle-having.  This last complaint really is evident in the character of Bek; it’s obvious the writers want him to be that witty hero who always has a wise-ass comment to make but Bek’s performance can’t quite pull it off and the whole thing is just uncomfortable to watch.

This Thwaites guy is all over the place. Some times he's good and other times,
like this film, he's just damn forgettable or hard to watch.

Hmmm, the gods bleed gold.  Yeah...that doesn't look
stupid at all.
Now, as far as the performances are concerned in this film, those are a bit of a double-edged sword.  Sure, some actors are out-right bad and some just don’t look like they are trying but most of them are wickedly and outrageously over-the-top.  Normally, something like this could be terrible for a film but, when you consider all the factors of Gods of Egypt, this isn’t a totally bad thing.  The film already looks and feels (and I’m going to use this word again) awkward and it’s all but a cartoon, so having performances you can’t take seriously just sticks with the tone of the film.  Hell, even a completely amazing performance from anyone couldn’t have saved this one; and besides, Gerard Butler is clearly having the time of his life in this role and you can’t fault an actor for that.

However, the fact he kept yelling that "THIS IS EGYPT" was a tad strange.

Ohhhh, so that's where the entire effects budget went.
If there’s anything Gods of Egypt did right it's the world-building aspect of it all.  The whole film feels like a fantasy/sci-fi pulp novel from the John Carter golden era come to life.  While the props and special effects look terrible, the world and it’s all-encompassing reality does feel authentic and like these character could be living there.  The problem is that this element alone isn’t enough to make it watchable or make the story feel anything more than a very generic hero’s journey that is hitting all the predictable notes but not hitting them in anyway that makes the whole process enjoyable or remotely entertaining.

At least you still have Game of Thrones, Nikolaj.  Well, for two more seasons

Gods of Egypt is a pretty messy big-budget film that, despite said budget, feels thrown together and thrown together quickly and very haphazardly.  Everything about this movie is so terribly done that the fact this film is yet another example of whitewashing proved to be just another miss for a film that feels like it is taking shots with its back to the target.

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